tol·​er·​ance | \ ˈtä-lə-rən(t)s How to pronounce tolerance (audio) , ˈtäl-rən(t)s \

Definition of tolerance

1 : capacity to endure pain or hardship : endurance, fortitude, stamina
2a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own
b : the act of allowing something : toleration
3 : the allowable deviation from a standard especially : the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece
4a(1) : the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (such as a drug) or a physiological insult especially with repeated use or exposure developed a tolerance to painkillers also : the immunological state marked by unresponsiveness to a specific antigen
(2) : relative capacity of an organism to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental factor
b : the maximum amount of a pesticide residue that may lawfully remain on or in food

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Synonyms & Antonyms for tolerance



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Examples of tolerance in a Sentence

a tolerance for other lifestyles The plants have a high tolerance for heat. Some patients gradually develop a tolerance for the drug and need to be given a larger dose. Some patients develop greater tolerance for the drug's effects.
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Recent Examples on the Web This depends on risk tolerance and the importance of the visit. Katia Hetter, CNN, "How should vaccinated parents navigate summer? A doctor's advice," 7 May 2021 Recriminations will not restore a relationship in the upcoming week, but tolerance and understanding might. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for May 2, 2021: Leo, hold realistic expectations; Sagittarius, lay off the bulk purchases," 2 May 2021 Much like number two, any move – independence or otherwise – requires both risk tolerance and faith. Mindy Diamond, Forbes, "Financial Advisors: 10 Reasons Why Independence May Not Be Right For You," 16 Apr. 2021 Some parents reportedly believed focusing too much on race in school could reduce tolerance and peace rather than improve it. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "Virginia parents group starts PAC to unseat school board members over racial and reopening controversies," 13 Apr. 2021 But Baker also noted that levels of fentanyl must be considered in the context of how long someone had used the drug, any tolerance built up to it, and what other substances may be involved. Amy Forliti, Anchorage Daily News, "Medical examiner: Pressure on George Floyd’s neck exacerbated his heart condition," 9 Apr. 2021 There was a time when this development would have been celebrated as a triumph of tolerance and racial harmony. Naomi Schaefer Riley, National Review, "The Southern Baptist Convention Confronts Critical Race Theory," 29 Mar. 2021 By fostering tolerance and trust and uniting people around a shared experience, national service can build a more informed and engaged public, which is critical to fighting misinformation. Stanley Mcchrystal, Time, "Joe Biden Should Make National Service the Cornerstone of His Legacy. Here's How He Can Achieve That," 24 Mar. 2021 The best way to accumulate wealth is to start investing early, invest consistently, and make sure your investment mix is aligned with your time horizon, risk tolerance, and needs. Steve Sprovach And Amy Wagner, The Enquirer, "Allworth Advice: One year later, three more lessons learned from the pandemic," 18 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tolerance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tolerance

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for tolerance

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The first known use of tolerance was in the 15th century

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Statistics for tolerance

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tolerance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for tolerance



English Language Learners Definition of tolerance

: willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own
: the ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant
medical : your body's ability to become adjusted to something (such as a drug) so that its effects are experienced less strongly


tol·​er·​ance | \ ˈtä-lə-rəns How to pronounce tolerance (audio) \

Kids Definition of tolerance

1 : ability to put up with something harmful, bad, or annoying He was running out of tolerance for the pushy young cop.— Carl Hiaasen, Hoot
2 : sympathy for or acceptance of feelings or habits which are different from someone's own


tol·​er·​ance | \ ˈtäl(-ə)-rən(t)s How to pronounce tolerance (audio) \

Medical Definition of tolerance

1 : the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (as a drug) or a physiological insult especially with repeated use or exposure developed a tolerance to painkillers
2 : the immunological state marked by unresponsiveness to a specific antigen

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